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American-made missiles continue to threaten underprivileged children in Yemen, and Washington knowingly disregards the issue at hand. The up rise of the Arab Spring has demolished the fragile peace in Yemen. Since the beginning of the war in 2015, there has been a constant fight for power between the Saudi backed Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels. Some believe that the root of the issue lies within the Sunni-Shia divide, while others claim that this conflict is strictly a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain, if peaceful negotiations between the two opposing parties is not reached, the war-torn nation of Yemen will many citizens. While tensions in the Middle East historically seem never ending, it is clear that the situation in Yemen would not have reached this level of chaos had the United States kept its neutral stance. By continuing to aid Saudi Arabia with weapons and military support, the United States is fueling the war at the expense of the lives of millions of helpless Yemeni citizens including “eighty-five thousand young innocent lives” (Karasz).
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The Yemeni crisis continues to exist because foreign powers are stubbornly taking sides due to political and religious interests, rather than staying neutral. To sum the political situation in Yemen, the country became unstable during the up rise of the Arab Spring. With much pressure from the Yemeni citizens, President Saleh gave up his position to President Hadi (the former Vice President. The main motive behind this change in power was to establish political reform. However, President Hadi failed to create a smooth transition and during this period the Houthi separatist movement (a minority group in Yemen backed by the Shia movement) became aggressive and started demanding more input in Yemeni politics. This group became a threat to President Hadi when they became to capture and takeover major cities within Yemen with the help of Iran. This sent President Hadi to Saudi Arabia seeking refuge. Realizing the threat Iran was imposing by being active in this region, Saudi Arabia prioritized creating a coalition to stop the Houthi group from attaining further gains. This coalition was backed by the United States in numerous ways.
Since the start of the war the United States has been committed to backing Saudi Arabia in a ruthless war, in one of the world’s poorest nations. While the western nation has claimed to remain neutral and “urged for a ceasefire in Yemen”, its actual have done the complete opposite (Sanchez). In the three years since the Saudi intervention, there has yet to be evidence that prove that the Saudi tactic will restore peace in the region
The United States plays a crucial role in the war in Yemen, as the nation supports the Saudi led coalition with military intelligence, weaponry and technical assistance. Careful analysis of the serial numbers and fragments found on weapons used in strikes can easily be used trace the origins of these weapons back to United States. While the United States claims to take a neutral stance in the war, it has demonstrated other sentiments through “the billions of dollars in arm sales” for “the refueling of Saudi combat aircraft” (Thornberry). Conversely some may argue that the United States delivered American made weapons to Saudi Arabia not knowing the exact purpose for these tools. However, the fact that Saudi Arabia is an unreliable customer is not surprising news. “Saudi Arabia has been accused of distributing arms to Islamic extremist groups in various parts of the Middle East” (Bibbo). American involvement in the Middle East in recent years has proved that selling arms to countries in the Middle East is a never a good idea. American made weapons are carelessly being distributed (by Saudi Arabia) to all parties who are trying to remove the Houthi dominance in certain areas, and this includes terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. Similarly, airstrikes led by the U.S back Saudi coalition have targeted many innocent civilians, in one instance “taking the life of 40 children who were on a school bus” (Bibbo). “Almost 30% of the Saudi led air-strikes have targeted non-military zones” (WHO). Lives are deteriorating in the blink of an eye. Homes are being destroyed; families are being torn apart; crops are being destroyed and children are dying. The weapons made in the United States are responsible for these unfortunate events.
Saudi Arabia continues to support the Yemeni government in committing war crimes, and the international community remains silent due to the fact that the United States supports the actions of Saudi Arabia. If it was not for the militaristic support of the United States, the violence in Yemen would not have accelerated on such a large scale. American intelligence continues to supply the Saudi backed Yemeni government with crucial information aiding them in these war crimes. Additionally, major contracts in weapon sales, whether it be between political leaders or corporations need to be reconsidered in order to control fueling the hostility in Yemen.
The ongoing war in Yemen has created what the UN calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis” (Bibbo). Conflicts are claiming thousands of lives, and health professionals in the region are forced to either flee or risk their own lives. Yemen’s healthcare system has deteriorated amidst the violence and the system is struggling as there is a shortage of medical supplies and qualified workers. It is estimated that “14.8 million people have no or limited access to basic healthcare” (Dureab). In addition to this, there is a shortage in potable water, and the lack of cleanliness within the nation has led to severe outbreaks of cholera. While cholera is a treatable condition in developed countries, the situation in Yemen makes it hard to cure and as a result many people die. Perhaps the most unfortunate turnout in this situation is that “children under 5 account for 32% of the total suspected cases” (WHO).
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Mass starvation exists in the country of Yemen and humanitarian aid is often times looted by the rebel groups. While the outbreak of war increased grocery prices, the vanishing of a functioning government resulted in the loss of millions of jobs. This left more than 8 million people dependent on humanitarian aid for their next meal. Reports estimate that over eighty-five thousand children have died from malnutrition. What’s more disturbing is the fact that the famine which occurs in the Houthi controlled areas seems to be man-made. Saudi led coalitions have created blockades by ports and airports which are under Houthi control. This tactic cuts supplies for the Yemeni population who relies on foreign imports. Additionally, Saudi air force had deliberately destroyed domestic means of growing and harvesting crops in Yemen. “Their bombs have constantly targeted agricultural land, dairy farms, food processing factories, and the markets where food is sold” (Thornberry). The usage of starvation as a weapon of war in clearly a violation of humanitarian law, yet the international community has yet to question Saudi Arabia.
The war in Yemen is mainly a struggle for power among powerful Gulf nations played at the expense of the lives of millions of people. It is disturbing to see what the nations would do for oil and supremacy. What is more alarming is the lack of media coverage on this topic. The catastrophe in Yemen could easily be compared to the war in Syria. However, the media coverage on the war in Yemen is sporadic. This is because the United States does not want to draw attention to the chaos it is creating by backing Saudi Arabia. Exposing the conflict in Yemen would result in exposing the nations alarming and toxic relationship Saudi Arabia. Until the voting population becomes better aware of the war in Yemen, the sad truth is that America will continue to aid Saudi Arabia in this unethical matter.
The first step in ending this tragedy lies in the United States keeping itself claimed neutral stance. Along with its western counterparts, it is the role of the United States to urge for peaceful dialogue between the wo parties rather than fuel the war. I also believe it is time for the international community to get involved in matters that go beyond the scope of humanitarian aid. The sooner this happens, the sooner there will be peace and stability in Yemen. After having completed thorough research on this topic, I am deeply ashamed of the United States. What surprised me the most was the lack of media coverage on this issue. It showed how shielded we were as a nation and made me want to further broaden my knowledge on current events by reading international news so obtain a broader perspective.
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